J.J. - This is a fic challenge from Spiritt's H/B Forum. It's a great forum-- head to her profile page for more information. Anyway, enjoy my first one-shot.
... Rabbits have few defenses other than good eyesight, good hearing, and the ability to flee quickly. They compensate for heavy losses by reproducing at a prodigious rate. Female cottontails can breed at 3 months of age and have multiple litters in a year. These reinforcements make for a fairly constant supply of cottontails...
"What are you two good for?"
I gazed into the cage, my nose nearly touching the metal wiring. I stared hard, as if I could somehow look the answer to my question out of them. The two blobs of fur only blinked back at me, their pink noses quivering slightly, as if they had a bad itch and just couldn't get to it. My own nose twitched a little of it's own volition just watching them.
The only response I got was one of their ears flopping lazily to the side.
"Hn." I leaned back again, crossing my arms across my chest, a condescending frown across my lips. "I knew it. Useless. You're completely useless."
Why Yukina cared so much about their welfare was entirely beyond me. All they did was sit in their cage, getting fatter as they took an obnoxiously long amount of time to eat a single stub of carrot. She had told me she had found them, nearly starved, behind Genkai's temple. She had nursed them back to health and grown to care for them. But now she had to leave to visit the ice village for a month, with no one to take care of her precious bunnies.
Except, of course, me. She could have chosen anyone else, but she insisted I take them. You always have such a caring and protective nature over me, I know you'll take good care of them, she had said. Those words were the only things stopping me from literally tossing them out the window of Genkai's shrine. The thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion. The old hag had left to visit some other 'old-and-wise' martial artist friend like herself. No one was around to witness the unfortunate homicide of two useless rabbits...
...I know you'll take good care of them.
Damn good brotherhood to hell.
I exhaled irritably, glaring down at the two furry mammals. I paused, tilting my head as I noticed a particular detail I hadn't before. I had thought I was feeding them the same amount, but the lighter colored one appeared to be fatter than the other. Unless I was simply seeing things, but the chances of that were in the same ball park as Kuwabara producing an intelligent statement– impossible. I did have a third eye for crying out loud.
"Hn..." I narrowed my eyes, doing the only thing I knew how to do to fix the situation. Intimidation. "Stop eating so much."
I had thought the problem successfully solved. Hn... well, even I have foolish moments of ignorance.
The voice sounded familiar to me, but I was in such a state of frustrated nerves, I might have been imagining a familiar voice for my own need for sanity.
"Hiei, where are you?"
Seconds later, the detective's blue-haired assistant walked into the room, oar in tow. My eyes widened a fraction of an inch– why was she here? It felt unnatural to see her outside a mission setting. However, I did nothing more but glance in her direction. I would not give her the satisfaction of seeing my surprise.
"What are you doing here?" I asked tersely.
"I came to check up on you... you've been cooped up here for a week or two now, so I was wondering if you were alright... you look a little pale. And, uh..." Her nose wrinkled. "What is that smell?"
How stupid. As if she were my nanny or something. I did not need anyone 'checking up' on me, and most especially not her. I would have to hurry her out before she discovered the very large problem I was struggling with right now and–
Holy shit, something was crawling on my head!
I sprung a hand into my hair, literally yanking out the small, white ball of fur that had been burrowing on my scalp. I flung it to the floor where it quickly scuttled away, trembling with fear.
Botan's eyes widened. "Was that... a bunny?" She gasped in horror, but I grabbed her before she could scold me for being cruel to animals, yanking her into the bathroom. I shut the door behind us, quickly scanning the room for any other traces of the small mammals.
"Ssh.." I held up a hand to silence her. "Aha!" I smirked triumphantly and reached a hand into the shower, producing two more small, white-furred rabbits. I opened the door and tossed them out, locking it when I closed it this time.
Botan stood across from me, hands on her hips, a confused look on her face. "Hiei, what's going on?"
As much as I hated to do this, I was getting desperate. I would have to enlist her assistance. "They're everywhere," I hissed through clenched teeth. "I don't know what happened. I think they may have been poisoned... or perhaps some kind of spell..."
"What are you talking about?"
"The rabbits! There's dozens of them now!" I glared in frustration.
Botan said nothing, a carefully blank expression across her face. Slowly, though, a look of understanding came into her eyes. She still said nothing, but her eyes widened before her mouth fell open. And she laughed! The damn woman had the audacity to laugh at me!
I growled and she must have seen my scowling face because she paused long enough in her mirthful giggles to say, "Oh, Hiei." She giggled again. "I guess now we know the two rabbits Yukina found weren't both boys, eh?"
What? How did we know that?
"What the hell are you going on about?"
"You know," she said, her laughter lessening into short gasps for breath. "The two rabbits, obviously... you know..."
I didn't know.
And it was killling me that I didn't know. How could this idiot woman know something I didn't? I'd lived longer than her, I had more experience in the harsh ways of life.
Finally noticing that I wasn't catching on to what she was talking about, her eyes slowly widened. "Oh..." She bit her lip and cast a quick glance at her shoes before looking at me again. "You don't know?"
As if I needed the reminder. "Tell me what happened," I demanded coldly, daring her to mock my ignorance with a glare. "Why are there so many rabbits now?"
"Oh geez..." She muttered, her cheeks turning pink. "I never thought I'd be explaining the birds and bees to you..."
What did birds and bees have to do with anything?
"Well," she began again. "When two people... er, rabbits... love each other, they, uh... show a great deal of... oh!" She huffed slightly. "Look, everything is fine. The rabbits made the baby rabbits together. It's a natural occurrence!"
I stared. The two rabbits had produced dozens of other littlerabbits? On their own? They had seemed so simple-minded and useless. Perhaps I had underestimated them. Could they possibly possess a secret cloning technique demons weren't aware of yet, and Spiritworld was keeping it a secret?
"W-what?" Her eyes widened in shock.
"Show me how the rabbits produced the other rabbits," I repeated.
She went red so fast, it was almost funny. "S-s-show you! Hiei, I... I don't think that would be very, uh, appropriate..." she stammered, blushing furiously.
Her nervousness made it all the more evident. Spiritworld had made her swear not to say anything to any demon. But it made no difference to me, I was not beyond threatening it out of her.
"I don't care if it's 'appropriate' or not." I advanced on her. "You will show me, now."
She backed away. "Stay away!"
I gripped her arms tightly. "How did they–"
"I will not have a baby with you, Hiei!"
I released her immediately, zipping to the farthest distance possible in the bathroom, my own face a deep red. "A baby! What the hell are you talking about? I have no intention of mating with you!" I could feel my shoulders shaking. I quickly added, as an afterthought, "Ever!"
"But you wanted me to show you how the rabbits made their babies!"
I stared, my pulse slowing a little. Baby rabbits? The thought hadn't really occurred to me that the rabbits might have mated. "They mated? But how..."
Botan was shaking a little too, gripping the side of the tub. "They are normal animals, just like me and you. What did you think?"
"I don't know what I thought!" I cried in exasperation.
We both stared at each other, cheeks pink with embarrassment, letting the silence trumpet in our ears. The horror of the entire situation was almost too much to think about. Fortunately, the awkward silence was broken as Genkai arrived back. I could hear her sure footsteps before a yell of surprise came muffled through the bathroom door.
"What in the nine hells– where did all these rabbits come from!"
I shifted slightly. Botan rose to her feet. I slightly cleared my throat and opened the door for her. As she left, I said in a casual tone, "I will kill you."
She sighed. "I know."